The Future of the University of Michigan Depends on Entrepreneurs!

The following post was developed as a guest blogger for Metromode Media, a Michigan-based e-Newssite. This blog, along with two others, explore the role of the University of Michigan and its Students for the State of Michigan.

I don’t say this to everyone, but here it goes…

There’s more to education than professors, classrooms, labs and writing papers. Engineering education – even a great education at the University of Michigan – requires the participation of community partners who provide hands-on experience with aspects of entrepreneurship that students wouldn’t encounter on-campus.

That’s why the University is looking for individuals who’ll come to campus and discuss their challenges and real-world problem-solving. In the words of those old “Uncle Sam” recruitment posters, “We want you.”

Contact us at the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). Soon. Now. While we’re talking, we’ll tell you what’s going on here:

1) This week we’re launching a new research program for small companies. It’s one of those win-win propositions – a good deal for the business and their bottom line, and a good deal for the University and its students.

2) We’re matching companies with energetic, highly intelligent, unusually motivated Michigan engineering students who need advisors, role-models and challenging projects such as those going on at your company.

3) We’ve put together new classes that allow students to work in companies, paired with a set of activities at U-M, to get academic credit.

4) We run a job fair – the MPowered Career Fair – that connects small companies with U-M students.

A lot of leaders talk about the importance of keeping students in Michigan, because talent and drive are invaluable. You can help by hiring them as interns, because those who intern in Michigan are three times as likely to stay and take a job with the company that they’ve come to know. Right now, the Nation’s large companies aren’t hiring much, so some of the best students won’t have jobs for the summer. And Michigan’s entrepreneurship support organizations – the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, SmartZones, Employment Training and Community Services, the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, etc. – aren’t setting up fellowship programs in which small Michigan companies hire interns from universities throughout the State – U-M isn’t the only Michigan institution with gifted students who need support.

There’s unique opportunity in Michigan right now to create something new – a truly modern innovative entrepreneurial community. We’re here, ready to play ball. It’s not just because we’re part of this community. It’s because it elevates who we are and what we will become.

Yes, a lot of leaders talk. Now I’m challenging them to walk the walk. Are you one of them? Prove it. Make a commitment… hire Michigan students… mentor them… teach them in your real-world classroom… help their professors. Show them the excitement and gratification of entrepreneurship. Then keep them for yourselves. Keep them in Michigan to help work on our common goals.

Comments (2)
  • Turnkey Business

    April 23, 2009

    Why would you send entrepreneurs to a career fair? Isn’t that for jobs? Entrepreneurs need funding to start businesses, not careers. Maybe a VC fair or investors willing to back a young mind. A career fair would stifle the entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Auto Air Conditioning Repair

    March 23, 2012

    You are right, hands on experience is the best education one can get in his chosen field.

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